Large Print Reviews
An Open Heart
By The Dalai Lama
Edited and Read By Nicholas Vreeland
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 4, 2001
In August of 1999 the Dalai Lama came to New York City at the invitation of the Tibet Center and the Gere Foundation. While in New York, the Dalai Lama gave a series of lectures on the nature and practice of compassion. These teaching sessions were held over a three-day period, and attracted tens of thousands of listeners. In editing An Open Heart, Nicholas Vreeland, who is himself a Buddhist Monk, extracted the essence of the Dalai Lama's teachings and wove them into a coherent survey of the New York lectures. This audiobook is read by Vreeland, who has a tranquil voice that is a pleasure to listen to. This audio book concludes with an afterword by Richard Gere that explains the work of the Gere Foundation, and why they invited the Dalai Lama to New York.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, and is accepted by many as the spiritual leader of all Buddhist. The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is he fourteenth Dalai Lama and was acknowledged, at the age of two, as the reincarnation of his predecessor. He was born in 1935 to a peasant family and he became the temporal ruler of Tibet at the age of 16. In 1959 he was forced to flee from Tibet, to India, after Chinese Communist occupied Tibet. This audiobook begins with a brief overview of the Dalai Lama's life and training, the founding of Buddhism, and the basic tenets of Buddhist belief.
In his New York lectures, the Dalai Lama discussed the nature of an open heart, and how to develop compassion for all beings. This book explains the Buddhist concept of compassion, and how to incorporate these teachings into your own life. An Open Heart also shows that by becoming a more compassionate person, your own life is improved, as well as the lives of all those that come into contact with you. This book also offers advice on how you can change your mental attitudes and perceptions, through the use of meditation. The Dalai Lama also offers suggestions on techniques that you can follow that will help you to achieve inner peace. In addition, the Dalai Lama teaches the importance of nonviolence and offers tips on how to foster nonviolence, both on a personal and on a political level.
The teachings offered in this book are based on Buddhist philosophy, and most do not have religious connotations, at least not in the Western sense. The Dalai Lama modestly proffers his insights and advice, in the hope that the listener might gain from the hearing. Throughout, these teachings offer practical suggestions on how to become a more compassionate person and to eliminate negative emotions. Simultaneously, this book also explores basic Buddhist beliefs, such the ten non-virtuous actions and how to overcome them, the practice of Dharma, the search for Nirvana, and the Buddhist belief in reincarnation. This book will find a ready audience, both in those seeking to learn about Buddhism, and those seeking insights on how to grow spiritually.
"...the techniques themselves do not lead to enlightenment or a compassionate and open heart. That is up to you, and the effort and motivation you bring to your spiritual practice." - The Dalai Lama (From the back cover of the audiobook.)
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